Me reading The Golden Cord, (only page one) at Diamond Canyon School in Anthem, Arizona.
I spoke to over a hundred kids there and they were a great crowd.
I really loved Phoenix. I arrived on May 20, my wife's birthday. She flew down from Salt Lake and we had a lovely dinner with family and Tam's good friend, Nazneen. It was lovely and The Cheesecake Factory was wonderful. I hadn't seen Tam in a little while and it was good to get together.
The next day I embarked upon my most audacious feat yet, speaking at four different schools in one day. I went to a great school called Desert Mountain in the morning, 9:30, and spoke to a bunch of amazing kids (they were 6th and 7th graders). They were a great crowd and the librarian there, Jan, was really nice. A different woman introduced me, I believe her name was Joanne, (I apologize, but I can't quite remember her name). Anyway, she had bought my book the night before and read 125 pages straight through. She loved the book and it was great to get such positive feedback from an educator and avid reader.
The speech went very well and afterward I met Virgel Cain, the illustrious Community Relations Manager at the Happy Valley Barnes and Noble in Phoenix. He set up all four school visits for me. I am so impressed with Virgel. He cares so much about the kids in the schools and has dedicated his life to making their lives better. Not only did he adopt a troubled child, but he serves on many boards that helps kids, and does all he can to improve things for the kids in the Phoenix area. He's one of the people who should hold public office. Meeting Virgel was a great highlight for me. I love meeting new people, but he's one of those people who really cares and I love that. Virgel was kind enough to escort me to the schools and was so very helpful at all times. I'm so glad that I met him.
The second school was called Paseo Hills and I met Gail Salameh, a wonderful librarian. I spoke to a younger crowd, 4th and 5th graders, around 100 of them. They were so much fun and we had a great time interacting. They had such excellent questions and were so smart! One of the boys picked up on the idea that Olympus Mons on Mars was somehow related to my inspiration for the plateaus in my book. I was very impressed.
The third school, Diamond Canyon was a lot of fun. I spoke to a big group in their gym, of mostly 6th and 7th graders. The speech went well and the kids once again showed me how brilliant they are. I loved meeting them and Mrs. Mercer, the librarian was very nice. She had me sign a brick on the wall in their library. That was cool. I signed it with the gold marker I have. I was able to speak with a few of the students afterwards, and they were so nice. I have been treated so kindly by the people I've met. I love that I've connected with so many of them. I want them to be inspired by my speeches and be passionate about whatever it is that they want to do.
The fourth school, New River, was late in the day. We had one glitch, as the 6th grade award ceremony went long and instead of them being in the library at 2:30, they arrived at 3:00. I had 15 minutes to speak to one class. They were great, but it was rushed and not my normal presentation. It went well, though. Virgel and I thought it worked out just fine. The librarian, Ms. Krentz was really great as well.
The marathon school visit tour was over and I went to dinner with friends and their kids. I got to hang out with Jordan Stephens, Natalie Kobinski, my in-laws, and my wife Tam. It was great.
Then it was off to the book signing at the Happy Valley Barnes and Noble. Virgel did a great job setting it up and we sold lots of books. I signed a bunch of copies of the extra books. So, they Happy Valley Barnes and Noble will have copies available for a while.
2501 W Happy Valley Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85085
I think we would have done even better at the signing, but that day was graduation day for lots of kids in the schools. Next time, I'm going to visit Phoenix earlier in the year. All in all, it went really well and loved meeting the students. They were great.
The whole day was great, but the best thing was getting to hang out with my friends, Natalie, Jordan, Deanie, seeing Tam, and meeting lots of new friends at the schools and the book signing. I met some really great people, but the most memorable was Virgel Cain. The Phoenix area is truly blessed to have that man.
Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord